Ever since the May 2013 opening of Music City Center, Nashville has become a hotbed of ambitious hotel development that shows no signs of slowing. Every hotel brand, it seems, has put this long-time bastion of country music on its "must plant a flag" list, and that has caused the city's downtown skyline to change dramatically.
Adding frenzy to the development scene was the news this past May that the National Football League had selected Nashville as host city for the 2019 National Football League Draft, a multi-day media spectacle that is expected to draw 20,000 fans and a combined 45.4 million television and online viewers across four networks.
According to Music City, the city's destination marketing arm, 18 new hotels have opened in the last two years alone, adding 2,691 rooms to the city's inventory; and another 10 properties, representing 1,504 additional rooms, are in the pipeline.
While glittering new additions like the 533-room JW Marriott Nashville, which opened in July, and the 350-room W Nashville, scheduled to debut in 2020, might have stolen the development spotlight, that's about to change. Why? Because, the city is about to get a tri-branded Marriott hotel, the first in the country.
Set to open in January 2019, the $120 million, 470-room downtown property will be home to three Marriott brands -- AC hotel, Residence Hill and SpringHill Suites. "With the demand in the market and the number of travelers currently attracted to the city, Nashville is the ideal location to introduce this new concept," said Gina Peper, vice president of sales and marketing at Atlanta-based Northpoint Hospitality Group, which owns the new building. "Instead of building one hotel brand with 470 rooms, this unique property gives us the opportunity to attract three diverse types of travelers, which broadens our guest base," she told me.
Here's how it will work. The tri-branded hotel, which will be within walking distance of the Nashville Music City Center, Bridgestone Arena and the Country Music Hall of Fame, will have two separate check-in lobbies -- one for AC Hotels guests, and a shared lobby for SpringHill Suites and Residence Inn guests. The three will offer a number of shared amenities, including six food-and-beverage outlets; a rooftop outdoor pool with fire pits and cabanas; and a resort-style indoor-outdoor pool. Also shared will be 9,000 square feet of meeting space, including a 21st-floor ballroom with floor-to-ceiling windows revealing sweeping views of Nashville's ever-changing downtown scene.
According to Peper, the property has already hit a note with travelers: "Our pre-opening sales efforts began a year ago, and we're pacing well ahead of budget at this point." She added that the spread in price-point between the three brands would be determined by demand. "The amount of group we have on any particular day or base from transient will also influence price points," she said. "Right now, the Residence Inn is receiving the most transient reservations, but there are dates where the AC Hotel or SpringHill has more group business, and the rates will reflect that."
In terms of crafting a design that will meld the distinct voice of the three Marriott brands, Peper said the colors and décor of each of the three brands will remain distinct of each other, as will bathroom amenities. One exception, however, will be guest-room linens.
"The AC linen typically has the highest thread count of the three," noted Peper. "However, to ease the daily housekeeping routine of the tri-brand, we will use the same sheets throughout the entire hotel. So, the Residence Inn and SpringHill guests will benefit from a higher thread count."